HISTORY OF THE JOCKSTRAP
Jock straps are becoming increasingly widespread as fashion garments and as a more comfortable, supportive alternative to typical underwear – but what is the history of the jockstrap? Modern jock straps may often go down the sexier route but the origins of the jock aren’t quite as glamorous…
As you’ve probably guessed, the history of the jockstrap started in the world of sport. More specifically – cyclists who were having a rough time on the cobbled streets of Boston, MA. Too much jostling and .. well you can imagine. The jock strap was designed by the company BIKE in 1874 as an “athletic supporter” that would protect the cyclists’ goolies as they cycled about. Hence the name ‘BIKE’ which, if you’ve seen it on a modern jock, may well have you thinking the wrong thing…
In fact you may assume that the word ‘jock strap’ is just something that an American ‘jock’ straps himself into… But it comes from the original name of the garment as a ‘jockey strap’ – not for a jockey on a horse,but a ‘jockey’ on a bike, or a deliveryman. In fact, the word ‘jock’ meaning ‘athlete’ comes from the fact they wear jock straps! Phew. Love a bit of etymology.
Wider usage of the jock strap came in 1927 when a Canadian company added a hard cup to give athletes protection against stray hockey pucks and studded boots. And since then it’s been a staple for North American ‘jocks’, without ever gaining quite as much popularity in Europe.
You may not be aware but there are a number of types of athletic jocks – from swimmer jocks designed to protect a swimmer’s modesty under his trunks to the traditional thick-banded athlete’s jockstrap. For hockey you can get ones with garter hooks to attach your socks to and super-protective ones for the unenviable job as goalie… The mind boggles.
But in the ’80s and ’90s jockstraps began to fall out of fashion as athletes moved to compression shorts and the like. More recently though there has been a resurgence in both the athletic type and the new fashion jockstraps. Mainstream brands like Calvin Klein and Diesel have incorporated styles into their underwear ranges and a whole host of rising underwear brands like Andrew Christian, PUMP!, Addicted, and many more have designed an incredible variety of the garments. Innovations like the brief jock, supportive pouches, and use of fabrics from mesh to sheer keep the industry evolving and ensure that the history of the jockstrap won’t be ending any time soon!